New in paperback. Hardcover was published in 2001. Joint Winner of the Longman/History Today Prize.
By 1300, medieval men and women were beginning to measure multitude, counting, for example, numbers of boys and girls being baptized. Their mental capacity to grapple with population, to get its measure, was developing and this book describes how medieval people thought about population through both the texts which contained their thought and the medieval realities which shaped it. They found many topics, such as the history of population and variations betweenpolygamy, monogamy and virginity, through theology. Crusade and travel literature supplied the themes of Muslim polygamy, military numbers, the colonization of the Holy Land,and the populations of Mongolia and China. Translations of Aristotle provided not only new themes but also a new vocabulary withwhich to think about population.In this innovative new study Peter Biller challenges the view that medieval thought was fundamentally abstract. He investigates medieval thought's capacity to deal with concrete contemporary realities, and sets academic discussions of population alongside the medieval facts of 'birth, and copulation, and death'.
1. Introduction to Medieval Demographic Thought ; PART 1GENERATION ; 2. Marriage and the Church's Marriage-Texts ; 3. William of Auvergne ; 4. Equal or Unequal Numbers of Men and Women ; 5. The Precept of Marriage and Sufficient Multiplication ; 6. Avoidance of Offspring (i): The General Picture ; 7. Avoidance of Offspring (ii): Canon Law and Sentences Commentaries ; 8. Avoidance of Offspring (iii): The Pastoral Picture ; PART AND MULTITUDE ; 10. Animals and Life-span ; 11. The Politics (i): Reception ; 12. The Politics (ii): Age at Marriage ; 13. The Politics (iii): Multitude ; Climate of Thought ; Bibliography ; Index of Manuscripts ; General Index